UNH Eats Locally, Thinks Globally With Annual Harvest Dinner
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
September 5, 2007
UNH chief sustainability officer Tom Kelly enjoys the 2006 Local Harvest
Dinner. Ron Bergeron, UNH Photo Services.
Since 2005, UNH has celebrated the region’s rich agricultural heritage
with its annual Local Harvest Dinner, gaining fans and patrons for its
gourmet preparations of local produce, seafood, meats and cheeses. Building
on its popularity, this year’s dinner, on Thursday, Sept. 20, has
moved to Holloway Commons. The Local Harvest Dinner runs from 4:30 – 9
p.m. and is offered to all students on the UNH meal plan, as well as to
the general public (adults $12.50 plus tax; children under 10 $6.25).
“Around the world, harvest dinners celebrate the bounty of the local
land. Our Local Harvest Dinner connects students and guests to the local
landscape while providing a meal of delicious, fresh food,” says
Elisabeth Farrell, a program coordinator for the University Office of Sustainability,
which partners with UNH Dining in Local Harvest. Eating locally, Farrell
notes, supports local economies and maintains the vibrant agricultural
landscape for which New Hampshire is known.
With a menu that includes organic vegetables from UNH’s Organic
Garden Club and Tuckaway Farm in Lee, beef and chicken from Lasting Legacy
Farm in Barrington, buffalo from Yankee Farmer’s Market Natural Meats
in Warner, tea from Portsmouth Tea Company, and cheeses from Full Moon
Farm in Rochester, Boggy Meadow Farm in Walpole, and Silvery Moon Creamery
in Westbrook, Maine, the meal showcases the diversity of foods from the
region. Honey from Bee Rich Apiary in Hudson, apples and squash from UNH’s
Woodman Farm, and cider from Carter Hill Orchard in Concord provide a more
traditional taste of autumn in New Hampshire.
“By partnering with these local vendors for this special night we
hope to emphasize our current local sustainable initiatives and provide
an outstanding meal as well as an educational experience to all those who
attend,” says Jon Plodzik, director of UNH Dining. “The event
has grown over the years, much like the local produce this time of year,
into something truly special for UNH Dining, the Office of Sustainability,
and the entire UNH community.”
Beneath a tent outside Holloway, local producers and food-related organizations
such as NH Made and Seacoast Slow Food will educate diners about the impact
of eating locally. In addition, Barrington photographer Charter Weeks will
display photographs documenting a barn-raising at Lasting Legacy Farm.
The photos, shot earlier this summer, include interesting portrayals of
several Amish volunteers who requested that their faces not appear in the
“I really loved the idea of being forced to present a world that
was emblematic of communal effort and physical demand, with an absence
of individual identity,” says Weeks.
This year, UNH Dining hosts several other Local Harvest events during
the week of the Local Harvest Dinner. Vegan chef Norma Koski, of Susty’s
Café in Northwood, is guest chef in Elements at Philbrook dining
hall Wednesday, Sept. 19. Koski has partnered with the Organic Garden Club
to bring “radical vegan foods” to student diners and guests
that evening. And for the entire week (Sept. 17 – 21), Panache, the
bakery-style sandwich shop at Holloway Commons, will feature local foods,
including Portsmouth Tea Company teas and Fogarty’s cheesecake.
A partnership of the Office of Sustainability and UNH Dining, the Local
Harvest Dinner is part of Dining’s Local Harvest initiative, which
brings local food, including cage-free eggs and organic produce, to UNH’s
three student dining halls regularly. UNH is the first land-grant university
in the nation with an organic research dairy; it is home to an active Organic
Garden Club, a food waste composting program, and the New Hampshire Farm
to School Program, which connects state K-12 schools with New Hampshire
farms. For more information, go to http://www.unh.edu/dining/localharvest.htm or www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.